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Goldfish Diary

Goldfish Appreciation Series - The Pearlscales

In this issue we showcase the beautiful pearlscale varieties and the very rare black dragon eye pearl bred by our club.
Legend has it that during the Qing dynasty, an entourage from India brought the first pearlscale variety as a tribute to the Empress Dowager Ci-Xi. Accordingly, the pearlscale variety was the outcome of genetic mutation of the wen-yu (fantail) in India that originated from China centuries ago.

Decades of selective breeding has resulted in many sub-varieties of the pearlscale. The oldest line is perhaps the classical pearlscale from northern China. This beautiful variety has a small pointed head contrasting with a big belly, pronounced pearls, a graceful tail with a very shallow indent, looking very much like a veil tail. Unfortunately, for commercial reasons, it has not been bred extensively and is rather rare out of China.

The calico classical pearl - an ancient line of pearlscale

A pair of red-white crown pearl

An all red crown pearl - 2003 Aquarama Pearl
class champion

The famous Malayan short tail pearlscale

The most commonly seen sub varieties in Asia is the Malayan short tail pearl - the pride of the Ipoh goldfish farmers from Malaysia. Locals like to refer them as the "go-li" (marble ball), golf-ball, ping-pong ball or the "tikus" ("mouse" in Malay dialect) pearlscale. This very unique variety breeds true with a very small head, rounded body and a short tail. Although they seldom grow to a big size, they are cute little fellows that look like clumsy variegated balls.

The crown pearlscale (the Japanese called them the Hamanishiki) is perhaps the most famous of the pearl variety. Created by crossing the pearlscale with the oranda and debut in the 80s, this variety exhibits a majestic rounded body with either a single or double crown. It can attain a size of more than 11 inches in an optimal environment.

As with many other varieties of goldfish, the ingenious Chinese breeders has produced different color variations of the pearlscale - blue, brown, green, red, red-white, white, black, red-black, calico, etc.

One of the rarest sub variety of the crown pearl is the dragon eye crown pearl - the seamless union of the grace of the crown pearl with the beautiful oriental features of the dragon eye! . Yet another very new variation of the crown pearl is one with pompons on its nostrils! 


The pearl variety also looks beautiful from the top view

Very rare brown crown pearl from Tung Hoi
Aquarium Company

A baby dragoneye pearl

Our club has been quite successful in breeding the rare black dragon eye pearl, the cream of the crop of 200 out of nearly 3000 fries. Even then, not all the siblings have dragon eye features, most of which are normal eye black pearls. Nevertheless, the line is unique with good body shape and finnage. As black is an unstable colour in goldfish, some will shed to red, red-black or remains green in colour as they mature. A true black pearl is rare, let alone the black dragon eye pearl. Hopefully, there will be some fries that retains the jet black colour like their parents. 

Keeping wise, the pearl variety is more demanding in space and water quality than most other varieties of goldfish. Their sensitive scales tend to show streaks of red or inflammation if the water is not well taken care of. So as long as hobbyists maintain good water parameters and avoid overcrowding, they will have success in keeping this very beautiful variety.

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To see other articles in our goldfish diary, let's go back to our diary home page.

28 March 2004

Baby black normal eye and
dragoneye crown pearls bred
by the Vermillion Goldfish Club



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